“The man who would truly know God must give time to Him.”In the Army we had a saying: "Don't make an MOS out of it". MOS stands for "Military Occupancy Status" which was basically a fancy way of saying "job". When you enlisted in the Army you enlisted for a particular MOS, be it infantry, field artillery, finance, or engineer (among many other options). Once you finished basic training you went off to your particular MOS school where you would learn exactly how to do your particular job. Once done, you would then be sent to a unit as a fully trained soldier specializing in your MOS.
― A.W. Tozer
However, regardless of what your MOS was there always came a day in Army life when you had to go do some other simple task like helping someone on base move house, or disposing of trash that had piled on for too long. It was in these scenarios where certain soldiers would tackle the task in such a way that they would over complicate that which was meant to be simple. And thus was born the "Don't make an MOS out of it" phrase. It simply meant, "stop making things so complicated. Just take the trash to the bin. Its that simple dude".
Now of course, this isn't just an Army problem. I'm always amazed at our human inclination to over complicate just about everything. Years ago I locked my keys in my car and had a group of friends come and try and help me. Three of the guys literally spent the first 5-8 minutes engaged in formulating and debating a plan that none of them could agree on. Suddenly, the fourth guy who had been standing back the whole time sorting out some tools stood up and said, "Yall' got too many theories. That's your problem." And in less than 30 seconds, without any of their input or assistance, he had pried the door open with a crow bar and used a oddly bent clothes hangar to fish the keys out of the car. That simple.
But this knack for the over complicated also bleeds into our spiritual lives. When it comes to our devotional life we are always looking for some new thing that will help us connect with God. Perhaps a new devotional, a new method, a new DVD, a new book, a new app, or a new system. But, as is often the case, 2 weeks later we are back to having no devotional life at all. And so we go back to searching for the magic pill that will make it stick And we never find it.
The prime reason is there is no magic pill, no secret formula, and no complex system. Its really quite simple. Set time aside for God. That's it. Nothing else to it.
So if its so simple why don't we do it? I think the answers to that can be many, but in my experience its often because simple as it may be, setting time aside for God means I have to miss out on something else whether its extra sleep, news-feed surfing, or more Netflix. And so I have concluded that the problem isn't that a devotional life is complicated but that I am often not willing to pay the price of time with God. And here is the honest truth: Time with God will cost you something. Prayer will cost you something. Bible study will cost you something. Memorizing and meditating on scripture will cost you something. And as you make your relationship with God more central in your life he begins to occupy more and more of your time, thought, and attention (kind of like any other relationship). And some of us are just not willing to go down that path. We'd rather the extra sleep, the extra episode, or the extra YouTube video. So we settle for a "blah" devotional life. And its tragic.
So how do we break out of this horrendously selfish cycle? Here are some steps that may prove a blessing:
Admit it to God. Seriously, have a conversation with him in which you openly admit that Brooklyn Nine Nine is way more interesting to you than Bible Study or prayer. Don't hold back. He can handle it.
Ask God to replace your desires. If you are going to break out of this cycle, you are going to need divine aid. So ask God for a new conversion experience and that he will fill you with a burning passion for him above all else.
Now go do it. Seriously, don't wait until you "feel" the passion. Just go and live up to your own prayer request. Make time for God. Spend that time with him. Talk to him. Read his words. Enjoy being in his presence. It really is that simple.
Note: This article was originally published at www.livingstonsda.church/livo-blog